By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
It is an exciting time for Josh Blankenship. The former Union and University of Tulsa quarterback is returning to the area to take over the coaching reins of Broken Arrow.
He was hired and addressed a press conference on Jan. 8 after six seasons as head coach at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo.
Blankenship is the son of legendary high school coach Bill Blankenship, who is now the head coach at Owasso. His father was in the same role at Union when the younger Blankenship was the quarterback.
“Coming back was a dream,” Josh Blankenship said. “My wife is from the area. All of our family is here. Getting to bring my kids back to this area is surreal. I’ve been pretty reflective on a lot of things and one of them was going into sixth grade was when we transitioned to the Tulsa area, when I went to Union and dad took that job a long time ago (1992). My oldest boy Barrett is in a similar situation. He is going into the sixth grade and I just think about the opportunities my kids are going to have.
“It’s awesome to be back around my family and my favorite place in the country,” he added.
Before being in Colorado, Blankenship served as an assistant to his dad at the University of Tulsa (2014), had been a head coach at Muskogee (2011-13) and had been at Union as an assistant beforehand.
Blankenship knows he has a big task in leading one of the top Class 6A programs in the state.
“The job is a huge job. I’ve never shied away from the expectations here at a place like (Broken Arrow). If I was confused about that, I wouldn’t have taken the job. But I certainly know what I’m getting into as far as the magnitude of the job. You have to have a vision for what you want to create and then you start chipping away at it.”
Rest assured his family is excited.
“I think they’re thrilled that we’re coming back,” Blankenship said. “I think it probably has less to do with me and more to do with the grandkids I’m bringing back, but we’ve been away for awhile so Mom and Dad are pretty excited we’re back.”
Broken Arrow and Owasso are rivals. When the two face off against each other next fall, the headlines will be a father vs. son coaching battle. But for the coaches, it will be business as usual.
“There’s going to be a lot of interest in things to talk about for the media,” Blankenship said. “For me, it’s going to be our next game. We’ll have a plan and we’ll prepare for that game. Maybe there are some things that I’m just familiar with being around dad that I might be able to lean on, but I’m going to approach it like any other game. Obviously there’s going to be other things outside of those four quarters or however long the game is, that we’ll attend to and we’ll deal with, but, ultimately, I’m responsible for this program and these kids and I’m going to give them every opportunity to win that game.”
Blankenship never thought in his playing days that he would be coaching at an arch-rival more than 20 years later.
“All I was thinking about back then was where I was going (to college) to continue playing,” Blankenship said. “The rivalry stuff is kind of funny because as soon as you go to college, especially if you’re at an in-state university like Tulsa, you’re immediately playing with guys you used to play against. So you have all those jokes and jabs, but you’re still teammates and you get really close with those guys. Rivalries are a big deal and are good for communities, but as you get older, I think what the rivalry means changes. Your priorities change. I married a Jenks girl and I’d rather be with her than have some kind of rivalry mentality. Yes, it’s different, but, no, as a player in high school, I never thought of coaching in general or coaching at a rival high school.”
Blankenship is now getting to know his players as he sees them every day during the offseason.
“We also got some individual meetings scheduled so I can get to know them on a one-on-one basis a little better.”
As for offense and defense, Blankenship said, “Winning is the objective. But I never put a name on offense and my defensive coordinator has never put a name on our defense. We’re going to tailor it to the time we have and build from there. Offensively, we’re going to tailor it to a skill set of what we have, also through our quarterback skill set. We got some basic fundamental things that we’ll always hold true, but it could look different this year than it does next year.”